This site is dedicated to my model railroad, the HO scale Virginia Midland Railroad. This layout comprises a 10X9 room with two levels. The upper level is about 95% complete and the lower level scenery has just begun.

I do a handful of train shows in the Virginia/Maryland region and go by the name of Virginia Midland Shops.
I also can help you find that freight car/locomotive or other hard to find item.

Email: stctigers@gmail.com
You tube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/Virginiamidlandrr/

Sunday, October 4, 2015

New awesome products from TCS and Soundtraxx!

At the 2015 MARPM event last week, I stumbled across a great new product.  Bob the Train Guy:(Website: Bob the Train Guy ) had the new TCS motherboard replacement with the Keep Alive capacitors.  The Keep Alive capacitors are a direct replacement for the boards in RTR locomotives.  right now they have 4 different boards, Athearn RTR, Athearn Genesis, Intermountain and Bowser.  I'm pretty sure the Athearn Genesis will work on a Atlas drive!  I have been adding KA's or Soundtraxx's Current Keepers in my sound locos for several years now.  They work well and keep the sound and locomotive moving on dirty track and through unpowered frogs.  A must for sound equipped locomotives.  Making room for a speaker and capacitors was always an undertaking.  So enter this new replacement board from TCS: http://www.tcsdcc.com/.
I was already picking up a speaker and my first Soundtraxx Econami 21 pin decoder from Bob.  I was putting the sound decoder in a Intermountain GATX SD40-2 that I picked up for $72 from MB Kleins.   It had the 21 pin connector on it motherboard and I was somehow going to add a capacitor.  Bob then told me about the new motherboard replacement from TCS.  Saved alot of time and the capacitor worked better than the others on the market.  I turned the power to the track off and the locomotive ran for about 27 seconds!  Unbelievable!

Here is the original mother board out of the Intermountain SD40-2.  These come DCC ready and have a 21 pin decoder installed.  I unhooked all the connectors. 

This is the new TCS motherboard.  Same plugins so the wiring requires no soldering!

The new Soundtraxx 21 pin economi sound decoder.  The CV setup is totally different for the Tsunamis but the horns are better and has different bell selections.  The best feature, it's 20-30 bucks cheaper.   

The only small problems I ran into was adding a speaker to the new mother board.  I need a connector to solder to the speaker wires.  Luckily I had one of these in my DCC drawer.  Never dispose of stuff because it may come in handy down the road.  The other is the Econami decoder itself.  The 21 pins on the TCS mother board were not long.  So adding the Econami decoder was not perfect fit.  On the bottom of the Econami were electronics that did not allow it to lay flat.  So the 21 pin connectors barely fit in the Econami at an angle and came off easily.   If the pins were longer, it would be no problem.  I'm sure the TCS WOW decoders will lay down quite snug on these and they were making Econami users like me work fro it! Overall easy installation and great sounding decoder.  Here's a quick sample of it:


  1. Ummmm, I think this will change how things go for sound installs! May rethink what I am doing do two large Atlas GE locos I have... Hmmmmm.

  2. Ummmm, I think this will change how things go for sound installs! May rethink what I am doing do two large Atlas GE locos I have... Hmmmmm.